Imagine stepping out of an air-conditioned Kwik-E-Mart and into the hot summer sun, cold soda in hand, when a long-and-low baby blue ‘62 Chevy Impala slowly trolls into the parking lot. How about rolling to a stoplight in West Hollywood and spying a bearded motorist with an 8-ball logo on the louvered and striped hood of his BMW? There’s no mistaking the common thread in these remarkable scenarios — Billy F Gibbons, be-shaded axe-man extraordinaire from ZZ Top and certified Texas Grade-A gearhead.
As with many rockers, Gibbons’ jones for hot rods and customs is the stuff of legend. But beyond this bona fide bluesman’s mastery of the six-string and unrepentant love for internal combustion is a noted collector whose own designs have manifested themselves in his cars and in hundreds of mind-bending custom guitars.
In Billy F Gibbons: Rock + Roll Gearhead, Gibbons riffs on his Texas youth, four-decade recording career, and life on the road, but also reveals the tales behind dozens of guitars, including the Famed Pearly Gates, the red Gretsch given to him by Bo Diddley, and the Muddywood guitar commissioned as a fundraiser for the Delta Blues Museum.
Also profiled are 10 of Gibbons’ outstanding rods and customs, including Kopperhed, CadZZilla, and the Eliminator coupe. In addition to exclusive photography by Bay Area shooter David Perry, the book is illustrated with dozens of images from Gibbons’ personal archive.